two days to Augusta

We’re off!

The first day’s track Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 5.43.30 PM

Here’s our first photo, just a few minutes south of Fremantle P1060264

Two typical things we all know about: the red soil and the eucalyptus. Speaking of which a few minutes later, this fabulous monster P1060271

There are over 700 species of eucalyptus worldwide and we’re looking forward to seeing great ones soon.

The weather is perfect, 60-ish and sunny. The roads are clean and the riding, same as NZ, is on the wrong side of the road. Also the same as NZ, there are tons of efficient roundabouts. We’re headed south, more-or-less down the coast in a 4 or 5 day loop. It’s easy and fast pavement. No dirt on this loop. It looks like this most of the day DSC03432

The creeks nearly have these trees growing in them. No idea what they are DSC03434

We get stopped behind an Aussie truck. They have these 5 trailer rigs they call road trains we’re looking forward to seeing DSC03444

We’ve headed off east in kind of a random way because the map shows some hills over there. At a cafe we stop and meet our first riders on the road DSC03447

We ride through forest for a couple of hours DSC03461

Then back to the coast. The lighthouse at Bunbury DSC03462

Then a bit down the coast to our first stop at Yallingup

The next day’s track Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 5.00.32 PM

A great surf in the morning at Smith Beach DSC03505

We’re headed for a famous sailor’s waypoint. There’s a small coast road shown on the map, so we take that.

Right out of town there are Calla lilies naturalized everywhere, native to South Africa DSC03530

Through a beautiful forest P1060289

Looking up P1060290

The riding is perfect. Fast open curves, no-one around, great light. The eucalyptus tress change, and then, on only our second day here, we ride through a forest that’s so beautiful it almost beyond words. Later I find out this is a very famous stretch and the best example of what they call the karri tree, which is actually eucalyptus diversicolor. They’re one of the tallest trees in the world, growing to over 250 feet. The picture does this no justice, the scale is hard to see. The trees are immense, maybe 150 to 200 feet tall, spaced far apart, and the view here is maybe a quarter mile deep, from up on a road ledge, looking down somewhat. So it’s a huge scene and maybe the best forest I’ve seen since Panama DSC03533

It’s our lucky day because a little further along we see a sign for Jewel Cave and we pull in. There’s a building with a cafe and tours of what they say is the biggest cave in Western Australia. It’s $20 and an hour to get down and up. I’m told that it wouldn’t be a good idea in my riding gear. We find somewhere to change set off with a small group. Along a tunnel DSC03660

Looking back, very nice entrance to a cave There are 250 steps down, through three caverns. Rather than annoy the others off I don’t use a flash but there’s some lighting around. Down stepsDSC03658

Past some stuff
More steps DSC03646

Past some more things DSC03615

Down and down DSC03651

Into a huge cavern. This photo is looking back up. It was lit P1060297

Then down a long final drop DSC03641

To a long cave with low ceilings and icicles DSC03632

When we got to the bottom the guide asked us if we’d like to have total darkness. When she killed the few lights and we settled into it for a few minutes, it was indeed black dark and quite a cool experience.

Back up top we’re excited to get to our destination, Cape Leeuwin. This is a waypoint followers of round-the-world boat races can identify with. The Vendee, the Volvo, the Jules Verne, all mark a point in the Southern Ocean by announcing ‘south of Cape Leeuwin!’ For many years I’ve had that a fixed point of progress of a boat I’ve followed and supported in my imagination. It’s the most south-westerly point of Australia.

It’s no disappointment. (The only disappointment is that the Garmin map is such a disaster. Note the road that doesn’t exist at all, the town at sea) Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 5.01.40 PM

But back to it. The lighthouse DSC03557

The sea coming in from the Indian Ocean is fantastic. The rollers to the north are low and powerful, 100’s of feet apart, random and threatening. Breathtaking. DSC03687

To the east there’s a shoal out there somewhere and the rollers are breaking as far out as a mile. The sound and power is something else DSC03661

But sea photos never work out. Click and enlarge the video to the left. We take a risk and leave Lucinda for a short while and walk the coastline DSC03603

Some flowering plants DSC03695

We need an Aussie sign off. Can’t use Saludos much anymore, as much as I wish we were back in LA and still could, but that will pass. We’ll think of one.


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